17-time Ironman finisher achieves lifelong goal

Published 3:13 pm Friday, October 9, 2009

Several years ago, Katie Malone turned her lifelong obsession with triathlon, one of the world&squo;s most grueling endurance sports, into a career as owner of Malone Coaching, and in August achieved a long sought after goal: a sub-11 hour Ironman⪚ finish.

The Ironman⪚ is a triathlon where participants swim 2.4 miles; bike for 112 miles; and run a full marathon of 26.2 miles. Malone has been coaching triathletes in Western NC and Upstate SC for seven years, also competing herself‐even finishing in the Ironman⪚ World Championship in Hawaii.

However, getting her finish time under eleven hours in a full Ironman⪚ seemed to elude her until August in Louisville, KY. As Malone describes that race experience, &dquo;I have spent years chasing a goal, always thinking that I needed to train my body more, gain confidence from big miles, when in reality, the difference between this race and others was completely between my ears.&dquo;

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Throughout the race in Louisville on August 30, Malone often thought about Yoda, one of her most loyal of training partners who recently passed away just weeks before the race. Yoda, along with her other Weimeraners‐most of them rescued by Malone‐ran and swam with her through the years around Lake Lanier where Malone often trains.

The swim for this Ironman⪚ was in the murky Ohio River. When Malone got a mouthful of that river water, it rattled her somewhat, but she thought about Yoda who fearlessly swam wherever he pleased just because he loved to swim.

When Malone transitioned to the bike and began her 112-mile ride, she was feeling great and thought about Yoda again‐fearless even when he became ill. She became fearless, too, and had a triumphant ride. At the beginning of the marathon portion of the race, Malone realized she had a chance at breaking 11 hours.

That is when she thought about her training companion once again. &dquo;I started thinking about old Yoda and how many 20 mile runs that dog did with me, how he would have run himself into the ground to stay by my side,&dquo; explains Malone. Malone finished the race in 10 hours and 50 minutes.

Malone is currently focusing on Ache Around the Lake‐that takes place Saturday, October 10 at 8 a.m. at Lake Lanier.

The Ache was founded by Katie Malone and Scarlette Tapp in 2006 as a way to promote healthcare and fitness in their community. All proceeds from Ache Around the Lake benefit St. Luke&squo;s Hospital Foundation&squo;s &dquo;Excellence in Care&dquo; Initiative, focusing on equipment and facilities upgrades. There are two races‐the 8K (5-mile) Ache and the 2-mile Ouch fun run. Registration will begin at 6:30 AM on race morning at the Family Dollar parking lot across from the lake entrance on Hwy 176, and will close promptly at 7:45 AM. For more information, visit www.achearoundthelake.org.